- Category: Society
- Published on Monday, 04 October 2010 05:05
- Written by Next
- Hits: 1846
Amaka (not real name), a 27-year-old woman was one of the victims of the struggle, which ensued when some residents of Abuja jostled for bags of rice donated to the indigent by wife of the Nigerian president, Patience Jonathan as part of the independence anniversary celebration.
The single mother of a two-year-old girl had gone to work, at the spot where she runs a phone call business at Garki Area 10, when she heard there was a jamboree of free rice where anyone could have a bag or more depending on what your strength could carry.
The rice hand out was taking place at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, but Ms Amaka lost her life in the process.
According to the younger sister of the deceased, Amaka had already successfully carried a bag of rice to her shop when she noticed there was an avenue to still carry more. So, she went back to try her luck and met her death. She was hit by one of the trucks which was offloading the rice.
"When I came back from work that day, they said they were sharing bags of rice and she went with her friend, she came back with the first one and they still said they should go and she did," the sister said. "According to what I was told, she had already carried the second bag and she was sitting on it, she sat on the bag and the truck that they were removing the rice from was trying to reverse and the thing just finished her. Before they took her to the hospital, she died."
The friend with which the deceased went on the mission confirmed that they had already picked a bag of rice and wanted to try out another bag before the accident occurred.
"Amaka had gone for another bag of rice so that she could send one to mama in the village and keep one here at home for us to eat, since we are three staying together," the sister said.
She, however, does blame the driver of the truck that hit her sister. But she also thinks poor coordination led to the stampede.
"I think the fault is not from the driver, people said the police there were just rushing and hitting people anyhow," she said.
"They shouldn't have done it like that, they should have taken it to the motherless babies' home. That doesn't mean anything and nobody is hungry. University students are there. That would have been better than telling people to climb and carry for themselves. Some carried and carried again up to six times".
Ms Amaka, whose corpse is to be transferred to the village today, was taken to the Aso villa clinic's morgue, where her family was offered N100,000 to assist in the burial cost.
NEXT learnt that the nine trucks of rice which was distributed were freely donated by billionaire, Alike Dangote as his contribution to Nigeria's Golden Jubilee celebration.
A taxi driver, who gave his name as Ikechukwu, told NEXT of how he had collapsed trying to get a bag of rice. "It was a carry by yourself if you fit," he said. "I climbed plenty times, but as I go dey come down people go just push me down carry the bag. The last one wey I say make I try again, na so dem march me for ground with the rice, I de pray say if God just save me, I no go near the truck sef again. I blacked out na so dem come dey pour me water until I wake up."
He thinks it should have been better if the organisers had brought more security people who should have forced the people to queue up and collect the rice.
"I appreciate wetin the madam been try to do, na good thing to give people food, we get plenty hungry people for Nigeria. But she for do am for different small groups," he said.